Santa Barbara - Things to Do

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Santa Barbara has lots of great attractions and things to do.

Sightseeing and Shopping

Take a walk down State Street and enjoy all of the fabulous shops, restaurants, bars and people watching. Along the way you will pass the Paseo Nuevo Mall, an outdoor shopping mall that has wonderful boutiques as well as your standards, including Macy's and Nordstrom. Make sure to take notice of the historic theaters on State Street, the Granada and the Arlington. Make sure to visit the Moreton Bay Fig Tree, located at the corner of Montecito and Chapala streets. A historic landmark, this massive tree spans nearly 200 feet, and is believed to be the largest of its kind in the country.

Other historic sties include the Santa Barbara Mission, known as "The Queen of the Missions", El Presidio, a Spanish fortress built in 1782, and the Santa Barbara Courthouse, a beautiful Spanish-Moorish structure with incredible views of the city from its tower. De La Guerra Plaza was the first City Hall, and is still the center of city administration.

A beautiful place great for kids and adults alike, the Santa Barbara Zoo is a fun place to visit. When we were there in May, they had a new baby giraffe, Daniel, and newborn baby otters. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, and the Santa Barbara Historical Museum are all wonderful places to visit.

Visit Stearns Wharf located at the end of State Street, out over the Pacific. Ty Warner Sea Center is a part of the Museum of Natural History located on Stearn Wharf, and it offers a chance to get up close with ocean creatures. You can find souvenirs, restaurants, fast food, wine tasting and more on the wharf.

Check out Wheel Fun Rentals for bike, skate, scooter, and surrey rentals. Take a bike tour of Santa Barbara or cruise along the beach path.

Santa Barbara French Festival will be taking place the weekend of the wedding, since Saturday is Bastille Day. It is the largest French Festival in the western United States.

Parks and Beaches

There are many parks located within the city limits: Alameda Park, Elings Park, Butterfly Beach, Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens, De La Guerra Plaza, Skofield Park, Parma Park, Shoreline Park, Douglas Family Preserve, East Beach, Leadbetter Beach, West Beach, Hendry's Beach (Arroyo Burro), and Andree Clark Bird Refuge.

Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens is located directly across the street from the ceremony location. The gardens include a large pond with dozens of turtles.

Arroyo Burro Beach, also known as Hendry's Beach, is home to The Boathouse, a great place for an evening drink and watching the sunset. They also have a wonderful breakfast and brunch menu.

Whale Watching and The Channel Islands

Visit the Condor Cruises website to find more information on whale watching cruises and visit to the Channel Islands National Park.

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